I Am A Caterpillar This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I may be female,
But I’ve never really been a woman;
My bones don’t move with the grace I was promised,
My laughter sounds more like broken glass than chimes,
And my fingernails have had grave dirt under them
For ten years now

I have never been pretty,
Some days I can manage to earn the title of cute
But when that word leaves their lips its not about my face,
They mean cute like a puppy that’s been locked outside
And keeps banging its head on the glass door
Trying to get in, not knowing its being laughed at;
Cute,
Like a little girl wearing her mothers clothes
And trying to look the part

And one time in the middle of the summer
I cut off all of my hair in front of the bathroom mirror
Because I got frustrated with the expectations;
When I came downstairs for supper
My sister laughed until she cried
My mother couldn’t stop saying why over and over again
And my brother took one look at me and said:
You have boobs, Alanna,
You’re supposed to have long hair and wear skirts
And your favorite color should be pink, not blue,
Blue is a boys color

That was the first time I realized
That my body doesn’t really belong to me;
It belongs to society,
To every twisted gender norm and boy-girl rule
That anyone has ever made
Trying to keep us between the lines of
Their idea of right and wrong,
And why doesn’t anyone else realize that people
Were not meant to live inside boxes and cages;
I have spent sixteen years trying to break free

One time I wore ripped jeans and a baggy t-shirt
To the opera just to watch the high society ladies squirm
As I walked by;
I only own one dress
And I have only worn it three times before
And even then I was wearing pants underneath it
To prove that they hadn’t won yet

But I haven’t won yet either,
On every holiday my entire family insists upon
Buying me make up and nail polish
Even though we all know it will never be used,
And one time my father bought me expensive aerosol perfume
In his attempt to make me more of a lady;
I took a lighter from the kitchen
And used it to make a flamethrower the size of his pride,
And if I have to become some sort of beautiful
Then I hope I look like those flames

But everyone keeps insisting that I’m a butterfly
Getting ready to come out of its cocoon,
They keep telling me that I am a caterpillar with boy hips,
Broad shoulders, flat feet,
And a face that could stop Medusa in her tracks,
But my wings are on their way,
But I know that wings are meant for flying
And what they want for me is nowhere close to freedom,
And I know that the butterfly doesn’t come out of its cocoon
Until it wants too,
So I will stay here wrapped in the safety of tomboy,
Because I have seen far too many women
Have their wings torn off by men attracted to pretty things
And that is the farthest from freedom you can get





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